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Helicopter transpo, gear packing question


AndyB
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Hi all! 

 

  I've got a gig next weekend that will involve a 20 minute helicopter flight to the location. No audio being recorded on the flight. What I'm wondering, since I've never taken a helicopter to work before and will be out at sea with whatever I bring, is what amount of gear can I reasonably expect to be able to bring on the helicopter? I've asked this question of the production company, but they won't be in until tomorrow, and I don't know if they really have an answer for this. 

 

 Keep in mind this is for a one day shoot, no more than 10 hours. My plan is to bring my regular Petrol bag and harness, loaded out with 442, DR-680 and 4 channels of wireless (probably only need 2 channels). Boom pole with zep as well. This would do what I need to be done while at the location. In addition, I'm thinking that I can get by with a back pack holding my laptop, spare batteries (9v, AA and an NP1), softie (in case the full zep isn't needed), backup shotgun mic and interior hypercardioid mic, breakaway cable (just in case!), one spare XLR cable, and a couple of Comteks for production. Oh! Also a Zoom H4n for shits and giggles if there's room.

 

  Anything else I'm missing? Of course every piece of gear will be tested before packing, so there should be no surprises, but one never knows, and I like to have my bases covered. Thanks for any input about this!

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Depends entirely on the chopper, I've seen a techno 30 hanging off the bottom of one recently.  If its a small one ( 4 seater ) without pods you can't take much, but should be ok with your list, but shorter pole would be better.  Also will they be landing and powering down or is it drop and leave ? - Either way you need to pack so there's nothing hanging loose or poking out - put away your hat etc ie pack petrol down so just hand straps - camera / boom cables and everything else in a duffel bag or gear bag.

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Hello Andy,

Sounds like an exciting trip. Since you're going out on an ocean, is there any need to consider protecting your gear from extreme humidity or wet events? How many people will be flying along? Will their equipment take a lot of space? Perhaps planning an absolute minimum of required gear in case you can't bring everything you would like?

-Jacob

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We will be on a platform 80 or 90 feet above the water, so spray and such shouldn't be an issue. If it is, we have bigger problems! Jacob, with this company, its usually me and the DP and a producer, so small crew for sure. Might be a PA/ camera assistant as well, but that would be it. I think from what I'm hearing my packing list is solid. All cables will be in the back pack until after we land. Jozzafunk, I don't really know yet if they will power down or drop and leave. I know we will do a solid touch down, skids on the deck. My pole is a Vdb that collapses to 3', call it 3'6" with the mic in blimp on there. Maybe I will pack the main mic and blimp until we land as well. Other thant that, I think I have a solid plan, but any other input would be invaluable. Thanks!

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If its a small helicopter, you have about as much space as sitting in the back seat of a car. Pack your gear, put it on you're lap in the back seat, and expect that's how you will be riding. Then you're prepared for the worst, and can hope its a larger copter that you can fit it all in.

I love riding in helicopters, enjoy!

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be prepared to hand it to the pilots and have them pack it in the luggage compartments. I've never been able to carry my rig in the main compartment going offshore unless given special permission because we were recording sound during the flight. my experience is with the oil and gas industry though, and the pilots are very strict about anything safety related.

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be prepared to hand it to the pilots and have them pack it in the luggage compartments. I've never been able to carry my rig in the main compartment going offshore unless given special permission because we were recording sound during the flight. my experience is with the oil and gas industry though, and the pilots are very strict about anything safety related.

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This was a former Coast Guard light platform which was decommissioned and sold at auction to a guy who turned it into a B&B! They normally do boat transpo out to it for guests, but helicopter is an option, and that's how the crew is doing it. I can only assume that the heli crew is used to tourists with luggage, but I'm looking forward to what production has to say about this. If they don't have a solid answer, I will get the info and contact the heli company myself. I want to be covered as far as my gear goes, but I don't want it to be a problem that keeps us sitting at the airport while I re-pack my gear. In fact, I think I will be proactive and contact the heli company myself.

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This will all fit in my Petrol 601 bag and one back pack, plus boom pole. Good idea about packing a decent pair of headphones for one of the Comteks as a backup pair. I had thought about just sticking a pair of earbuds in my pocket as a last resort, and will probably do that anyway.

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As mentioned above, ultimately what can go and what stays behind is going to depend on the chopper and its weight capacity.

 

Failing any advance info from the chopper driver, I'd pack 2 bags as you have outlined.

First bag with the stuff you absolutely cannot work without.

Second bag gets all the other gear.

 

Have a GREAT trip !!

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" I've asked this question of the production company, but they won't be in until tomorrow, and I don't know if they really have an answer for this."

They (the production along with with the helo company) are pretty much the only ones who can answer your question, since it depends...

and SAFETY comes first, so don't even think about questioning the pilot's requirements and wishes...

and Cujo has a good strategy

 

" Also a Zoom H4n for shits and giggles "

are you planning on shitting and or giggling ?

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So not fair Andy...have been wanting to go out there ever since reading about it.  they operate an amateur radio station which is the reason I want to go...well that a fishing. 

 

Been offshore so often can't count...your plan is solid.  You should be able to put the basics in your lap!  The rest in something soft, like a duffle so it can be crammed into the small luggage hold.  10 hours isn't that long, so need for chargers I would think. 

 

You can plan on high humidity, so the usual precautions stand.  And yes if the waves are high enough to spray you and the gear, I don't think you will be going. 

 

Enjoy...and post a pix!!!!

 

cleve

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Unfortunately, this shoot was postponed due to a tropical depression in the area grounding the helicopter. A bit bummed, but sounds like they are rescheduling for early September. At least I've had a test run of packing the gear. Production did ask me to weigh myself and my gear, and when I gave them the numbers, they thanked me for packing light. 

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